First Presbyterian Church in Bartlett – For Sale Again

This is the 1899 First Presbyterian Church building in Bartlett. If you’re looking for a beautiful old church building in the heart of Texas, it’s for sale! I found the listing for it this morning; the asking price is $165,000 (see realtor.com for details)!⁣

The story of First Presbyterian Church begins in 1871 when a lady by the name of Mary Kelso relocated to Bell County, Texas along with her entire family of five sons and five daughters (and several other extended family members).⁣

Mary Kelso was born Mary Clark in the small community of New Prospect, South Carolina, just north of Boiling Springs in the northern portion of Spartanburg County. At some point, she married Henry Kelso, who was ten years her senior.⁣

Henry Kelso passed away on March 31, 1859, and is buried in the North Pacolet Presbyterian Cemetery. This cemetery is, confusingly, not located near Pacolet (which is southeast of Spartanburg) at all, but closer to New Prospect.⁣

The Kelso family settled a few miles north of Schwertner, in a community that became known as Kelsoville. That community was missing one thing that Mrs. Kelso considered quite important– a church– so she appealed to the Central Texas Presbytery, which organized Nazareth Church in 1875.⁣

But things were taking shape a few miles to the west in the form of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad. John Bartlett and J.E. Pietzsch donated land along its right-of-way, and by 1882 when the rails reached the area, a small but thriving town named for Barlett had sprung up.⁣

By 1897, a number of members of the Nazareth Church lived in Bartlett, and the Kelsoville was declining. The Presbytery began exploring the possibility of establishing a church in Barlett, and on October 10, 1897, the First Presbyterian Church was organized there.⁣

Construction of a building for the new church began on March 7, 1899, and was completed four months later, in July.⁣

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